HUMBOLDT PARK — Maplewood Park is getting a new $1.5 million field house, according to Ald. Joe Moreno (1st).
The 3,000-square-foot field house will offer two large club rooms and bathrooms that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It will replace the park's tiny existing field house — a 600-square-foot red shack that has fallen into disrepair since it was built in 1950.
"It is a very small room that works to the utmost of its abilities. The floor is old and buckling, water comes in under the door when it rains," said Amy Ewaldt, current president of the Maplewood and Lucy Flower Park Advisory Council.
"There's nothing else that can be done in that room. It has to be torn down. There's no way to remodel, there's no way to fix it up, put a band-aid on it."
Maplewood Park, 1640 N. Maplewood Ave., was established in 1948 as a Board of Education-owned property, according to the Chicago Park District's website. Two years later, the city's Bureau of Parks and Recreation added a field house, sand box and play field.
The Chicago Park District took over the park in 1959. It last renovated the park in 1991, when it installed a new soft surface play area.
The field house project — described as one of the advisory council's "long-term goals" — received the green light from the city and the Chicago Park District this week, with both pledging to make contributions, Moreno announced Tuesday evening at a meeting with the advisory council.
Moreno said he will be allocating aldermanic infrastructure money the project. The money, received annually by each ward in the city, is earmarked for projects including street resurfacing, street lighting and other infrastructure improvements. The park group has also pledged to contribute $100,000 through fundraisers and donations.
A rendering of the project wasn't immediately available, but a Park District official said it will likely resemble Lowe Park's new field house, which debuted on the South Side in 2014.
A rendering of Lowe Park's new field house. [DNAinfo/Mina Bloom]
For Ewaldt, a teacher who has lived near the park for seven years, a new field house is so much more than just a new building.
"It's very hard if you don't have the ability to go somewhere else to take classes. If you're just in the neighborhood and you're a regular kid, classes end, and then what happens? What do you do?" Ewaldt asked.
"This will help us build those programs and leadership opportunities ... We want to make sure all of the neighborhood kids have a safe haven and also have a chance to learn some fun things."
If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in the spring.
In addition to a new field house, the park is also getting a new $85,000 baseball diamond courtesy of Chicago Cubs Charities and LISC Chicago. The project is slated to begin in the fall.